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Application of a biosorbent to soil: a potential method for controlling water pollution by pesticides

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Different strategies are now being optimized to prevent water from agricultural areas being contaminated by pesticides. The aim of this work was to optimize the adsorption of non-polar (tebuconazole, triadimenol) and polar (cymoxanil, pirimicarb) pesticides by soils after applying the biosorbent spent mushroom substrate (SMS) at different rates. The adsorption isotherms of pesticides by three soils and SMS-amended soils were obtained and the adsorption constants were calculated. The distribution coefficients (K d) increased 1.40–23.1 times (tebuconazole), 1.08–23.7 times (triadimenol), 1.31–42.1 times (cymoxanil), and 0.55–23.8 times (pirimicarb) for soils amended with biosorbent at rates between 2 and 75 %. Increasing the SMS rates led to a constant increase in adsorption efficiency for non-polar pesticides but not for polar pesticides, due to the increase in the organic carbon (OC) content of soils as indicated by K OC values. The OC content of SMS-amended soils accounted for more than 90 % of the adsorption variability of non-polar pesticides, but it accounted for only 56.3 % for polar pesticides. The estimated adsorption of SMS-amended soils determined from the individual adsorption of soils and SMS was more consistent with real experimental values for non-polar pesticides than for polar pesticides. The results revealed the use of SMS as a tool to optimize pesticide adsorption by soils in dealing with specific contamination problems involving these compounds.

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This work was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Project AGL2010-15976/AGR). A. Álvarez-Martín thanks the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness for her FPI fellowship (BES-2011-047811).

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Correspondence to María J. Sánchez-Martín.

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Responsible editor: Zhihong Xu

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Álvarez-Martín, A., Rodríguez-Cruz, M.S., Andrades, M.S. et al. Application of a biosorbent to soil: a potential method for controlling water pollution by pesticides. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 9192–9203 (2016).

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  • Biosorbent
  • Spent mushroom substrate
  • Immobilization
  • Soil
  • Non-polar pesticides
  • Polar pesticides
  • Water pollution